Economic nationalism is not a real economic theory that explains how markets function in a global economy. It is instead a set of political arguments aimed at blaming foreigners for America’s problems. In sum, “economic nationalism” equals economic nonsense.

Let’s first look at the central role that “trade deficits” play in the Trump administration’s position on whether trade with another country is considered “balanced.” Most important, Donald Trump believes it is bad whenever America imports more from another country than it exports, using terms like unfair and unbalanced.